Roses forum: Let's talk about Bourbons and Hybrid Bourbons

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Name: Christopher
New Brunswick, NJ, USA (Zone 7a)
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AquaEyes
Jun 20, 2018 12:38 AM CST
Bourbons are a class of Old Garden Roses that sort of form the bridge between the once-blooming European OGRs and the repeat-blooming Chinese OGRs. The legend of their origin is that a seedling was found (and later named 'Rose Edouard') on the Isle de Bourbon, off Madagascar, which was presumed to be a cross between the China 'Old Blush' and a repeat-blooming Damask -- possibly 'Quatre Saisons', or perhaps one of the early Damask Perpetuals. This rose combined the fragrance of the Damasks with the slightly sweet scent of the Chinas, along with their rebloom. The rose was propagated -- both asexually and via seeds -- and brought back to Europe, where it begat a new race of roses.

But there's something fishy about that story. For one, there was no record of Damasks being grown on that island. For another, 'Rose Edouard' appears to be a "strain" of similar roses -- probably arising from self-set seed -- which seems to date back much earlier, and was known in India for quite some time, being raised for rosewater production as well as being used as rootstock. What I think happened was that what was called a seedling was actually a sucker from this rootstock, and it didn't result as a first-generation cross between a repeat-blooming Damask and 'Old Blush'. It probably arose from some similar cross, which was "set" as a type by self-seeding over generations. There's another Bourbon which probably originated similarly -- the found-rose known here as "Maggie" has been rediscovered in other parts of the world, carrying other names and having a history going back for far longer than its supposed introduction date of 1900 under the name 'Eugene E. Marlitt'. Go to HelpMeFind for more information on that.

Anyway, Bourbons became popular and were crossed with roses of other types -- Chinas, Noisettes, and Teas -- which resulted in Bourbons of several types. Some of the crosses with Teas also expanded the Tea class, and the Bourbon-Tea 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' grandfathered a line of Tea-Noisettes through its offspring 'Gloire de Dijon'. So it's hard to generalize about Bourbons, being as they're such a mixed bag.

Adding to this are the Hybrid Bourbons, which (usually) resulted from Bourbons being crossed with once-blooming old European roses like Gallicas and Damasks, or in the case of some Geschwind roses, Bourbons crossed with any cold-hardy once-blooming rose. (I say "usually" because two roses called Hybrid Bourbons -- 'Blairii No. 1' and 'Blairii No. 2' -- are said to have been the result of the cross 'Park's Yellow Tea-Scented China' X 'Tuscany', i.e. Tea X Gallica.) They are also once-blooming, but their bloom season tends to last longer than that of the "pure" European OGRs -- the China/Tea genes seem to make them start blooming earlier, and keeps them from stopping short when the heat rolls in. So for people in warmer climates, the Hybrid Bourbons offer an alternative to the "pure" European once-blooming OGRs that need more Winter chill to bloom.

I'll start with one of mine, which I got from Vintage Gardens:

'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' -- Bourbon, 1890

I've had some issues with encroaching shade in my garden, so this year I tackled that by giving the Callery pear a much-needed crew-cut -- again. Last year, so many roses and other plants were leaning for light, and later battling fungal issues, so this year I "hit the reset button" on quite a few by giving them a harsher-than-usual late Winter prune. 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' was one of them, and it looks a bit gawky as a result. I sort of "air pegged" this rose to bamboo stakes, and cut away entirely any canes showing any signs of disease or damage. I knew this wouldn't leave much, but I also knew that, as a long-caned Bourbon, this rose would be more than eager to send new canes after the first flush. So its appearance this year is only temporary, and its new canes will be trained back the way I had them in previous years.

I mentioned "diseased canes" because I saw something -- maybe canker? -- that affected them, but as far as foliage goes, this is actually one of my cleanest roses without fungicide. 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' keeps clean leaves until about October -- which is rather amazing for a Bourbon in New Jersey.

Here is 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' in front of the evergreen trunk on May 1st of this year, after being pruned, and tied to bamboo stakes for "air pegging". Normally, I'd peg it far closer to the ground, but those canes stiffened too much before I got around to training them.

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On May 22nd, it opened its first blooms for the year.

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And more soon followed.

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This rose took some time to get going. I got it as a band from Vintage Gardens in Spring 2012, but it didn't bloom until 2013. In the meantime, it grew long canes. The pics below are from August 2012 -- four months after coming as a band.

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Once those long canes had matured, they produced its first blooms, in late May 2013.

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Then new canes -- either from the roots, or as basals emerging from existing canes -- produced blooms for the second half of the flush, extending the bloom from late May through until about July 4th. In the pic below -- taken June 13, 2013 -- you can see more buds forming.

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The heat made it pause, aside from a few scattered blooms, until it readied for another long flush from late August until late September or early October. And that's the cycle I've come to learn it has -- first blooms on canes made last year, followed by blooms on sturdy new shoots before they reach full size, then pushing those new canes to grow long, and then last year's canes bloom for a second time in the end of Summer, followed by one more wave from the new canes. Generally, I'm noticing that canes get exhausted by the end of their second year, and look as though they've had the juice sucked out from within by the following Spring. That's when I cut them out, and train the previous year's canes into their places. And that cycle continues from year to year. I think this can be generalized for how most long-caned Bourbons will grow and bloom -- especially if they are pegged. There's only so much those canes can bloom before they're exhausted, but new canes will keep growing to replace them.


This is 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' in Spring 2014, just before blooming for its first Spring in the ground after being planted the end of the previous Summer. This general way is how I continued to train the rose, but in 2016 and 2017, my job kept me out of the garden too much, and some things grew a bit too unrestrained.

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And this is it blooming a few weeks later.

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Spring 2015 -- just before the first flush.

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And the 2015 first flush, with its neighbor 'Golden Celebration'.

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By July 11, 2015, the flush was coming to a close.

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Here it is just before the flush in 2016.

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And here during its 2016 first flush.

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2017's first flush was produced on canes going in weird directions because I started a new job in 2016 that had me working something like 60 hours a week through the growing season, and things grew without guidance. Rather than cut all the wayward canes back, I just secured them so they wouldn't whip around, enjoyed the bloom, then cut back to get things under control again.

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But, again, work got in the way, and by the end of September, this is what I had.

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Well, the good thing about these old roses is that they're pretty tough, and can handle a hard prune once in a while to hit the "reset button", and grow back again quickly.

I made a long first post in this thread because 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau' is a special to me. It's no longer sold by any US nursery, yet is so healthy in foliage and fragrant in bloom that I wonder how that could have happened. Did names like this go out of style? Is it that people don't like dealing with big, gangly roses anymore? Or was this one of the oddballs Vintage Gardens imported and no one else bothered to carry? I don't know. It's not my only Bourbon, but it's my favorite.

:-)

~Christopher
[Last edited by AquaEyes - Jun 20, 2018 12:40 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1741990 (1)
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 12:53 AM CST

Moderator

Here's our entry for it:

Rose (Rosa 'Souvenir de Victor Landeau')

Incidentally, it was one of the first 300 plants added to our sitewide database.

I wonder why HMF has two listings for it. I see no difference to justify the two separate entries.

http://www.helpmefind.com/rose...

Edited to report that the two HMF entries have been merged.
[Last edited by zuzu - Jun 20, 2018 9:37 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1741993 (2)
East TN (Zone 7a)
Kesroses
Jun 20, 2018 6:31 AM CST
Thanks for doing this, Christopher. I wanted to join this conversation because I thought that bourbons do well here and I'd like to add more someday. After reading your history of bourbons, I realized that none of mine are typical bourbons- whatever that means. I have Mystic Beauty, of the SdlM family; a recently acquired SdlM climber; Coquette des Blanches, a hybrid bourbon; and had Maggie for many yrs. All these roses have done well here, although it's too soon to tell for cl. SdlM. Yet SdlM and family have a heavy dose of tea, Maggie is a foundling with a mysterious past and CdB is actually a bourbon x damask perpetual. So what do I know?
Possibly my Not-Elizabeth-of-Goshen is a bourbon but so far it doesn't repeat and doesn't have much fragrance, at least not yet. Is there a bourbon that doesn't have fragrance?
Name: Bonnie
Texas
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RosesnTx
Jun 20, 2018 8:00 AM CST
I grow SDLM, Zephrine Droughin and Maggie and I just planted Madame Isaac Pierre this spring. Christopher your garden is so beautiful! I absolutely don't have the knowledge you do about roses so it's interesting to read about the different classes of roses. I think next to Teas, bourbons are my favorite. I'm really looking forward to next spring to see how MIP blooms for me in my garden. I know she has a reputation for being a diva so we'll see how she acts for me, I'm not expecting her to be totally free of black spot but I do hope she blooms those big bodacious smelly blooms I keep reading about.
[Last edited by RosesnTx - Jun 20, 2018 8:01 AM (+)]
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Jun 20, 2018 9:44 AM CST

Moderator

I don't grow any but knew I have taken a lot of photos of them at San Jose Heritage Garden and Vintage Gardens so I went to the Rose database, clicked on " Search by characteristics and checked the Bourbon class which brought up a list of 95 that we have in the database.

Posting a few photos I took. I feel the need to go on a few photography trips again! I hope new members can add to the database!









in Zuzu's garden

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East TN (Zone 7a)
Kesroses
Jun 20, 2018 10:04 AM CST
Thanks for that, California Sue! It helped me remember that I also have Souvenir de St. Anne's. One of my favorites and I completely forgot about it!
Name: Ingrid
Northeast San Diego County (Zone 11a)
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ingrid_vc
Jun 20, 2018 12:47 PM CST
At one time I had quite a few of the shorter varieties but now am left with only two bushes of Souvenir de la Malmaison which tolerates the heat fairly well and, now that winters are warmer here, blooms pretty much throughout the year with no major problems. It may develop some mildew in the spring, and I wish it didn't hang on to its older leaves quite so much, but otherwise it's an easy and beautiful rose.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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porkpal
Jun 20, 2018 2:49 PM CST
After reading Christopher's discussion, I need to look up my "Bourbons and Bourbonesques" to learn which is actually which. I really appreciate the rose history lessons, thanks, Christopher!
Porkpal
Name: Christopher
New Brunswick, NJ, USA (Zone 7a)
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AquaEyes
Jun 20, 2018 5:04 PM CST
porkpal said:After reading Christopher's discussion, I need to look up my "Bourbons and Bourbonesques" to learn which is actually which. I really appreciate the rose history lessons, thanks, Christopher!


If you have access to a Vintage Gardens catalog, the various classes are explained well. If you don't, you can find their website on the WayBack Machine. They placed the Hybrid Bourbons separately, after the Bourbons. Many books lump them together, but older books had more classes than we recognize today. I guess that as these types became "old-fashioned", the ARS decided to trim down the number of those classes and threw things together. So in a modern book, you'll see them all as Bourbons -- some of which repeat-bloom, while others don't. Those that don't were called Hybrid Bourbons back in the day.

:-)

~Christopher
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 5:46 PM CST

Moderator

HMF has now merged the two separate entries for Souvenir de Victor Landeau.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 9:44 PM CST

Moderator

I don't have very many bourbons, but here goes:

Louise Odier is a wonderful rose that grows to the height of a short climber. Its canes are quite pliable, so it easily can be grown as a pillar rose. It has a good scent (all of the bourbons do), and the cupped blooms are quite fancy.

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 9:48 PM CST

Moderator

Madame Isaac Pereire is another tall bourbon that can be grown as a pillar rose. It has perhaps the strongest scent in my garden -- strong, but never cloying. It's reminiscent of raspberries.

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 9:51 PM CST

Moderator

Madame Pierre Oger has been something of a disappointment to me. It has less resistance to pests and diseases than my other bourbons and has never grown as tall or looked as healthy. In fact, the only photo I have of it looks rather bug-eaten.

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 9:58 PM CST

Moderator

I have the climbing sport of Souvenir de la Malmaison. I lost a good one to the gophers a couple of years ago. The current replacement is a bit weak. It hasn't grown beyond 5 feet yet and it shows occasional signs of powdery mildew, which is quite rare in my garden. The blooms are so beautiful, however, that I have no trouble overlooking the rose's flaws.

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 10:06 PM CST

Moderator

Zephirine Drouhin is a gem of a rose. The blooms smell like raspberries, the canes are virtually thornless, and the rose's shade tolerance is quite remarkable. In fact, the Zephirine Drouhin I have growing in the sun will never compare to the huge and sturdy Zephirine I'm growing in the shade. This could also be the result of other circumstances, of course. The one in the sun is an own-root plant that's only about 10 years old, while the one in the shade is a grafted rose I bought from J&P more than 30 years ago.

Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 20, 2018 10:13 PM CST

Moderator

I also have Setina, which may or may not be a bourbon rose. It's called a bourbon, but it's a climbing sport of Hermina, which is usually classified as a China rose. Setina is a nice pink climber -- tall, with graceful arching canes. A reliable rebloomer, it usually produces large clusters of blooms.

Name: Ingrid
Northeast San Diego County (Zone 11a)
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ingrid_vc
Jun 21, 2018 2:10 AM CST
I've had quite a few Bourbons in the past but the only one I grow now is Souvenir de la Malmaison, which has been a very good rose in my garden.


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Name: Bonnie
Texas
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RosesnTx
Jun 21, 2018 6:18 AM CST
Ingrid I always love seeing pics of your SDLM, you are actually the person who recommended SDLM to me when I was asking what would be a good first OGR for my garden. It is one of my best and favorite roses.

Zuzu, your Louise Odier is beautiful and one that I need to grow, sigh, one day....
Northern MO (Zone 6a)
ac91z6
Jun 21, 2018 3:11 PM CST
How are MIP and Louise Odier on disease? I'm in a very different climate, but it would still indicate if a rose is susceptible to a disease.

Any cold/colder zoners growing these? Or are the Bourbons a warm climate rose?
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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zuzu
Jun 21, 2018 3:41 PM CST

Moderator

Most bourbons are hardy to zone 5, but the ones with a strong China admixture, such as Setina, are hardy only to zone 7.

In my garden, Louise Odier and Madame Isaac Pereire suffer from black spot shortly after our rainy season ends, but so do most of the other roses in my garden. I've never seen rust, downy mildew, or powdery mildew on either one.

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